Adam Silver

Adam Silver Hasn’t “Given Any Thought” To NFL Inquires

During his five years as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has received inquiries from several NFL team owners about whether he’d be interested in switching leagues and becoming the NFL’s commissioner, sources tell ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Silver has also been approached by Fortune 500 companies about potential job opportunities, Shelburne reports.

Although Silver didn’t explicitly confirm that he has received interest from NFL owners or other companies looking to lure him away from the NBA, he tells Shelburne that he’s not considering leaving his current position.

“I’ll just say I have not given it any thought,” Silver said. “I feel very fortunate to be in this position. As a longtime fan, as a long time league employee, the opportunity to become the commissioner of this league was beyond anything I even ever dreamed of as a kid.

“I’ve loved every day I’ve been in this job, and I think there’s nothing but enormous opportunity ahead for this league. And ultimately, I realize I’m just passing through like every player who’s gone through this league and ultimately like every owner, and I feel an enormous obligation to the fans and to this greater NBA family to do my best and try my hardest every day. But that’s where 100% of my focus is.”

While the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have had to deal with controversies related to player protests, head injuries, domestic incidents, and – of course – “Deflate-gate” in recent years, the NBA has been relatively scandal-free during Silver’s tenure.

As Shelburne’s story observes, Silver has helped grow the sport by embracing eSports, legalized sports betting, and patch advertisements on jerseys, while tweaking rules related to referee accountability, game flow, and the draft lottery. And as we noted when we relayed Forbes’ annual franchise valuations last week, the average value of an NBA franchise has tripled over the last five years.

Be sure to check out Pro Football Rumors for the NFL-centric perspective on Shelburne’s report.

NBA Won’t Ask Enes Kanter To Tone Down Criticism Of Turkish Government

The NBA supports the decision Enes Kanter made to stay behind while the Knicks traveled to London, and commissioner Adam Silver said the league is taking reports of Turkey issuing an extradition notice for the 26-year-old center “very seriously.”

“My stance is I think it’s very unfortunate Enes Kanter is not here with the New York Knicks,” Silver said of Kanter not making the trip to London (via Marc Berman of the New York Post). “I absolutely understand his reasoning why he elected not to come. Certainly, there wasn’t a suggestion to the league not to come on this trip. We live in a world, these are really significant issues that he’s dealing with. I recognize for the NBA that by virtue of a fact we’re a global business, we have to pay attention to these issues.”

Sources tell Berman that the NBA won’t act until official extradition is made and the league will work with the State Department should that occur. 

Turkish prosecutors are seeking an international arrest warrant for Kanter, accusing him of associating with a terrorist group and providing funds to Fethullah Gulan, a Muslim cleric who previously resided in Turkey. Gulan currently lives in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Government does not consider him a terrorist.

Kanter, who refutes any wrongdoing, has repeatedly has spoken out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him a “maniac” and “the Hitler of our century.” The NBA will not approach Kanter about toning down his criticism of the Turkish Government.

“There’s nothing more important as commissioner of the league than the safety of our players,” Silver said. “We take very seriously the threats he’s received — even if it’s people on social media. I support Enes as a player in this league. I support the platform players have to speak out on issues that are important to them.”

Kanter isn’t going to be extradited based on the claims of Erdogan — or at least that’s the opinion of Sports Illustrated’s legal expert Michael McCann.

Extradition is a multi-step process that can take years to complete and the probability of it occurring in Kanter’s situation is “very low,” McCann writes. It’s unclear whether Turkey possesses any evidence of Kanter committing any wrongdoing, something that would be needed for the U.S. to comply with Turkey’s request, McCann adds.

It has also been reported that Turkey will file a “red notice” with the International Police Organization also known as Interpol. The organization doesn’t have the authority to arrest anyone and is usually used to more effectively share information between countries regarding the whereabouts of a potential fugitive or unlawful figure.

As McCann notes, Turkey requesting Kanter be placed on “red notice” is curious. Kanter’s whereabouts are mostly known publicly because of his team’s schedule. He’s active on social media and he’s a 6’11” human walking around the U.S., one who is unlikely to leave North America because of immigration status.

One thing is clear: Kanter won’t be sent to Turkey based on his criticism of Erdogan, as freedom of speech is protected in the U.S. Kanter previously said he did not travel with the Knicks for the London trip for fear he would be assassinated by Turkish spies as a result of his criticism.

“Anyone who speaks out against him is a target,” Kanter wrote of Erdogan in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “I am definitely a target. And Erdogan wants me back in Turkey where he can silence me.”

Berman spoke with a Turkish basketball reporter who was at the Knicks-Wizards London game and talked to the New York Post scribe on the condition of anonymity. The reporter said that “no one likes Enes in Turkey right now,” adding that Kanter could be “attacked in the USA” as easily as he could be in London.

Kanter won’t have major issues traveling to any of the NBA’s 30 home arena. He has made arrangements with the U.S. government to travel with the Knicks to Canada when they play the Raptors in Toronto.

The 26-year-old center is currently on the trade block for New York, as the team is in the midst of a youth movement. There have been no reports of rival teams shying away from acquiring him because of his political friction with the Turkish Government.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Adam Silver Talks Suns, Draft Lottery, Marijuana

Appearing on Howard Beck’s podcast, The Full 48, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed a handful of issues facing the league, weighing in on the Suns‘ arena situation, the NBA’s draft lottery, and the league’s marijuana policy, among other topics.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

On the Suns’ arena situation and the concept of relocation in general:

  • Silver says he has made it clear that it’d be a “failure” on his part if an NBA team moves out of its current market, and he doesn’t expect that to happen with the Suns. “If I can be helpful, I will be to all parties there,” Silver said, referring to the Suns and the Phoenix City Council. “But I’m pretty confident they’re going to sit down and work out a deal.”
    [RELATED: Robert Sarver: Suns won’t move out of Phoenix]
  • In the Suns’ case, the issue will come down to how much money the city is willing to put toward those renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Silver, referring to arenas as “modern-day town halls,” argues that a public/private funding partnership makes sense because NBA games make up only a fraction of the events that take place at those arenas.
  • Silver points out that Phoenix’s arena is the oldest one in the NBA that hasn’t been either rebuilt or renovated over the years, adding that it’s in need of an upgrade.

On the draft lottery:

  • It’s still “unclear” how effective the NBA’s changes to the draft lottery will be, according to Silver, who cautions that he views the recent tweaks as an incremental improvement rather than a “cure-all.”
  • The NBA is constantly looking for ways to improve its system, but unless the league is willing to take drastic measures to revamp how teams can acquire players coming into the NBA (ie. abolishing the lottery or the draft itself), there’s only so much that can be done to adjust the format, says Silver.
  • The commissioner also tells Beck that he’s unconvinced that “tanking” for multiple years is the best way to go about rebuilding, given the toll it takes on a team’s culture and fan base.
  • Silver referred to “The Wheel,” an idea from Celtics executive Mike Zarren which would see a team rotate through all 30 draft positions over 30 years, with those positions set well in advance. However, Silver suggests it’d be a bad look for the league for championship teams to end up with top picks, given the fan outrage when the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins this past offseason.

On the NBA’s marijuana ban:

  • The NBA is having ongoing discussions with the players’ union about the league’s rules surrounding marijuana, according to Silver. “I don’t want to speak for [union head] Michele Roberts, but I think she and I have a somewhat similar view on this, which is we should follow the science,” Silver said. “This is not an ethical issue for me. It’s not a moral issue for me. I obviously see what’s happening in states around America. I think there’s a bunch of unique issues for the NBA.”
  • The fact that various states across the country have different regulations and rules regarding marijuana use makes things trickier for the NBA, according to Silver, who points out that there are still federal laws prohibiting traveling with marijuana.
  • Silver also notes that the league’s marijuana ban may – in some cases – result in players turning to alcohol or prescription drugs, which might actually be worse for the player that marijuana would be.
  • Ultimately, the NBA wants more input from experts before making any changes, but Silver acknowledges that the league may eventually alter its position.

On changing the NBA’s entry age:

  • Silver reiterates that the earliest the NBA would change its entry age would be for the 2022 draft, which has been previously reported.
  • Silver views 2022 as a reasonable target for those changes if the NBA and players’ union can get something done within “the next few months.” If there’s no significant progress in those talks by the time the 2019 draft is approaching, the timeline may need to be pushed back further, says Silver.
  • In concert with the negotiations on the NBA’s entry age, the league will likely be looking to create regulations about the availability of prospects’ medical information during the pre-draft process — Silver would like to see all teams have equitable access to that info, as opposed to top prospects withholding it from specific clubs.
  • Silver believes the NBA G League will get up to 30 teams within “the next two years or so.” Currently, 27 clubs have NBAGL affiliates.

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Leadership Committee, More

While not every Bulls player was on the original group text that discussed a possible boycott of last Sunday’s practice, Lauri Markkanen was — and his voice “resonated immediately” when he urged teammates to show up, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

“I thought that was a more professional way to go about it,” Markkanen said of going to the team facility on Sunday. “I thought about other members of the staff. Like, they show up to work. Obviously, this isn’t the main point, but some of the staff lives an hour away and they come to work. I try to think how disrespectful that is to tell them that we wouldn’t show up.”

As Johnson details in that story, Markkanen believes he can be one of the leaders of the Bulls, and it appears he’ll get the opportunity to play that part. As Johnson tweeted on Thursday, the team’s new “leadership committee” will be comprised of Zach LaVine, Robin Lopez, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Markkanen. According to Johnson (Twitter link), the committee was originally just going to be four players, but Markkanen asked to be added.

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • With the Bulls facing plenty of outside criticism for the drama involving Boylen and his team, executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson pushed back this week against those critics, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times relays. The only thing that discourages me is when there are storylines out there and no one asks us our side of the story,” Paxson said. “It’s easy to look from the outside in and gather information from other people around the league that you know, but if you’re not coming directly to us, how do you really know? I’m confident in what we’re doing. … There’s so much noise out there, so much negativity. I don’t feel it inside our building or our locker room. Like I said, I think that what happened the last week, long term, will be a good thing.”
  • Addressing the situation in Chicago on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver said that no one from the players’ union contacted him this week about the Bulls, and he plans to stay out of matters relating to the “operation of any particular team.” Cowley has the details and the quotes for The Sun-Times.
  • K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune answered several Bulls-related questions in his mailbag earlier this week.
  • Earlier today, we passed along word that the Bulls have engaged in some Jabari Parker trade talks. That full story is right here.

Silver Optimistic About G League Team In Mexico

The G League could have a franchise in Mexico by next season, relays Eric Gomez of ESPN. Speaking prior to Thursday’s Bulls-Magic game in Mexico City, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the move would be part of the league’s strategy to increase its presence throughout Latin America.

“We’re in the third quarter there,” Silver said about the possibility of the G League moving southward. He added that it will be “planting its flag in Mexico” very soon.

Last night’s game was the 27th since the NBA began its relationship with Mexico, and another between the Bulls and Jazz is set for Saturday. Silver cited the Arena Ciudad de Mexico, which holds 22,300 people, as a major attraction. He called it “a state-of-the-art arena” and indicated that the NBA would consider playing in other Latin American nations if they had similar venues.

“There were long lines of fans just waiting to get in,” Silver said.

The NBA hasn’t committed to any games in Mexico beyond this season, but Silver is optimistic that the relationship will continue. The league announced a new TV contract on Thursday to show its games on Televisa, a Mexican multimedia company.

“We’re committed to come back to Mexico for many years to come,” Silver added.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, White, Holland, Carmelo

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would discuss holding a future All-Star Game in the city of Detroit with Arn Tellem, the vice-chairman of the Pistons, Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News reports. The Pistons are playing their second season at Little Caesars Arena, which is also the home of the NHL’s Red Wings. “I’m sure we’ll be talking about it,” Silver said during a business trip to the city. The state of Michigan hasn’t seen an All-Star Game since 1979, when it was held in the Pontiac Silverdome. The Pistons’ former home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, never hosted the event.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Former Heat and Cavaliers big man Okaro White is close to signing with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to a report which was relayed by Sam Amico. White appeared in six games with Miami last season after seeing action in 35 games with the Heat the previous season. The Cavaliers signed him to 10-day contracts last season but he didn’t play. He was waived by Cleveland in August and then by the Spurs in October after joining them for training camp.
  • The G League’s Austin Spurs acquired the returning rights to guard John Holland and a 2019 second-round pick from the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate, in exchange for small forward Jaron Blossomgame, according to a press release from the G League club. Holland had a two-way contract with the Cavaliers last season and played 24 games, posting an average of 2.3 PPG in 7.3 MPG. Holland appeared in one game this season with the Cavaliers before being waived on November 9th. Blossomgame, the Spurs’ second-round pick in 2017, spent the last two seasons with Austin but has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Warriors, Sixers, Lakers and Pelicans are the most likely landing spots for Carmelo Anthony once he’s waived by the Rockets, Matt Eppers of USA Today opines. Anthony could help each of those teams to varying degrees, mainly as a second-unit player.

Pelicans Respond To Stern’s Comments On Demps

Earlier today, we shared snippets of a conversation between former NBA Commissioner David Stern and Chris Ballard of, wherein Stern spoke on numerous issues involving the NBA. Among them was his role in the Lakers’ near trade for Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in 2011. In elaborating on that deal and its eventual breakdown, Stern was quoted as saying:

“But Dell Demps (GM of the then Hornets and current Pelicans since 2010) is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Well, the Pelicans apparently weren’t willing to take those comments lying down, responding with a statement earlier tonight, which reads, in pertinent part:

“We are very disappointed to read the inappropriate and inaccurate comments from the former NBA Commissioner regarding the New Orleans Pelicans. Our organization has the utmost confidence in our General Manager, Dell Demps. He is part of our family, the NBA family… Our organization is excited and proud to be part of the NBA with the progressive and innovative leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.”

Of course, Stern and Silver share a relationship stemming from Silver serving as Stern’s deputy commissioner for eight years. Stern even endorsed Silver to become his successor. Accordingly, it’s interesting that the Pelicans chose to use Silver to backhandedly cast aspersions on Stern. Silver and the NBA have yet to comment.

And-Ones: Age Limit, Summer League, Hibbert, Toupane

As we’ve relayed previously, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced during an NBA Board of Governors meetings in Las Vegas last week that the NBA is ready to make changes to its age limit, thereby potentially allowing high school seniors the opportunity to jump straight to the NBA once again.

However, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, teams have been told privately by league officials not to expect a change to the age limit until the 2022 NBA Draft at the earliest.

Assuming the 2022 NBA Draft allows high school players to jump directly to the NBA, players entering their freshman year of high school this fall will be the first ones to benefit from this potential rule change.

As for any trades that could be affected by this, no team has as yet traded an unprotected 2022 first-rounder, and the only one that could potentially change hands at this point was sent by the Mavericks to the Hawks in order to move up in this year’s draft and select Luka Doncic.

It will be interesting to see whether teams will be wary of trading draft picks in 2022 and beyond before a final ruling is made on this issue.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • In a Q&A piece for ESPN, several different writers spoke about who they believed to be the standouts and disappointments from this year’s NBA Summer League. Wendell Carter, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Deandre Ayton were among the rookies recognized, while John Collins and Josh Hart were two players who were mentioned as probably too good to have even played in this year’s summer league.
  • In an interview with TMZ Sports, former NBA player Roy Hibbert says that he is done playing professional basketball, explaining that “It’s just time to move on.” Hibbert, 31, was named an All-Star as recently as 2014, but saw his impact dwindle over his last few years in the league as he got older and the game got smaller and quicker.
  • French forward Axel Toupane, who appeared in 25 total NBA regular season games in 2016 and 2017, has signed with EuroLeague club Olympiacos B.C. after helping lead Zalgiris Kaunas to the EuroLeague Final Four last season, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Adam Silver Talks Warriors, Playoffs, Free Agency

It isn’t “necessarily” bad that the Warriors are so dominant, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during a Tuesday press conference in Las Vegas (link via Mark Medina of The Mercury News). Silver explained that the NBA isn’t trying to create a “forced parity,” but wants to ensure that there’s a “parity of opportunity” for the league’s 30 teams.

“There’s a fair point to be made in a tax system when certain teams are spending significantly more than others, that’s not parity of opportunity,” Silver added.Also, certain teams have advantages other teams don’t based on their resources and market and the wealth of the market. They may be in a position to go deeper into the tax than another team does.

“Under the current system right now, we want teams to compete like crazy. The Warriors, within the framework of this deal, should be doing everything they can to increase their dominance,” Silver continued. “That’s what you want to see. We want every team to compete in every way they can within the rules. If it makes sense to make adjustments to the rules next time, we’ll look into that.”

Here are a few more notable comments from Silver’s Tuesday’s presser:

  • Silver acknowledged that the idea of seeding teams 1 through 16 in the postseason has “real appeal,” but cautioned that it would take time to implement (link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN). “In our estimate, we could be looking at roughly 40-50% more travel,” Silver said. “It doesn’t mean we can’t, but it is not something we can do quickly. It would require really a wholesale re-examination of how we do the schedule, how our television deal works.”
  • The NBA may make adjustments to the start of the free agent period to avoid having it begin at midnight ET on July 1, according to Silver (via Youngmisuk). With so much attention focused on free agency, the league would like to avoid having the first wave of major signings break in the middle of the night.
  • Silver spoke about the California Classic Summer League, adding that it “exceeded all expectations,” as NBC Sports California relays (on Twitter). The league will discuss expanding it beyond the current structure, which only features four teams, including the host Kings.
  • According to Silver, the investigation into workplace misconduct allegations in the Mavericks‘ business offices should wrap up by the end of July (link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press).
  • As we detailed on Tuesday night, Silver suggested that the NBA expects to make adjustments to its one-and-done rule for prospects in the coming years.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NBA Expected To Lower Age Limit

The one-and-done rule may soon come to an end, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes it’s time to consider allowing recent high-school graduates to enter the league.

“I’m not here to say we have a problem,” Silver said via “And I love where the league is right now. But I think we can create a better system.”

The new system should be in place by the 2021 draft, though there was no official timeline set.

“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” Silver said. “It won’t come immediately. But when I’ve weighed the pros and cons, given that Condoleezza Rice and her commission have recommended to the NBA that those one-and-done players now come directly into the league and in essence the college community is saying `We do not want those players anymore,’ I think that tips the scale in my mind.”

Changes to the age-limit rule would require an amendment to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said she expects there will be some news in the coming weeks, adding “Stay tuned.”